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Showing posts from November, 2016

Setting sail with Stevenson's pirates at Book-It

When Bryan Burch dived into the adaptation of “Treasure Island” for Book-It Repertory Theatre, he found a beloved novel already full of a “sense of theatricality – perhaps because it was written episodically,” he said. Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel had been assigned to him to read as a possible story for the company.

“Up until very recently I was production manager at Book-It,” he said. “When we were in the process of selecting plays, they assigned me to ‘Treasure Island.’ I’d first read it so long ago and so many of my memories were crowded out by 1950s Disney movie, the animated ‘Treasure Planet,’ and recent Eddie Izzard film. I was so charmed by the original that I wrote up my recommendation. The amount of action and larger cast was convenient for holiday show.” Although this is Burch's first mainstage production, he previously adapted novels for Seattle Public Library's Seattle Reads author-in-residence program with Book-It.

Burch expects the audience, like himself, to e…

Defending the Christmas spirits at Taproot

Bill Johns is back at Taproot Theatre Company for their Christmas production “The Trial of Ebenezer Scrooge.” It’s more Victorian madcap fun for Johns, but decidedly less of a blue role than his previous turn as the wild Luigi of “The Explorer’s Club.”

Along with being more clothed than Luigi, John’s character of Solomon Rothschild is much more of a straight man. “I’m defending the spirits of Christmas and the ghost of Jacob Marley against the accusations of Ebenezer Scrooge,” he said. “All of them have problems on the witness stand. And the Ghost of Christmas Present is anything but present, because of course it is Christmas Eve and he’s so busy.” It’s up to Solomon to put all the various witnesses at ease “and be comforting in contrast to Scrooge’s mean-spirited lawyering.”

During the course of the play, Scrooge appears to have backslid from his conversion to a more caring gentleman. Once again parsimonious, he’s handling his own prosecution of the ghosts for illegal trespass, ki…

Forgotten Land evokes the sea’s slow devouring

When asked about the major themes of Jiri Kylian’s work, his longtime colleague Roslyn Anderson answered without hesitation, “Life, death and, of course, love.”

In Seattle to stage Kylian’s “Forgotten Land” at Pacific Northwest Ballet, Anderson took part in PNB Lecture Series last week. Starting out in ballet in her native Australia, Anderson joined the Netherlands Dance Theater in 1972 “so I was there before Jiri,” she said. In 1975, the Czech choreographer became the artistic director of the company and, over the next three decades, created numerous works that became a standard part of the international dance repertoire.

Anderson began assisting Kylian in 1979, danced in the premiere of many works until she retired in 1986, and now travels the world staging his work. One gentleman attending the lecture talked about seeing the debut of Kylian's work in the United States in the early 1980s and how the choreographer immediately became a favorite. Anderson nodded in recognition. “Th…

Attend the tale of Toby at SMT

Seattle Musical Theatre tackled Stephen Sondheim’s horror musical this month. In this production of “Sweeney Todd,” a secondary character has become the audience’s guide to the dark streets of London and the darker secrets of the Demon Barber. In managing artistic director Chris Mayse's production, the vagabond Toby becomes a way to explore the effect that violence has on us all. Mayre answered some questions about this all-new production via email.

Jones: This production is a big contrast to your last show, "Working." However, it's dealing with similar themes. "Sweeney Todd" revolves around class struggle. How does it feel to be doing these two back-to-back?

Mayse: Class structure is certainly present in "Sweeney Todd.” This was a time when the Industrial Revolution was having an impact on those who were craftsmen by trade. This is why you saw once thriving neighborhoods, like where Fleet Street is located (the place where Todd and Lovett's shop…